Perfect Indian BBQ Tandoori Chicken Recipe

Unless you have a tandoor oven then the dry smoky heat of a BBQ is the very best place to cook this perfect Tandoori Chicken recipe.

Portrait image of a BBQ tandoori chicken drumstick with surrounded by out of focus chicken

The Best Way to Cook Tandoori Chicken.

Traditionally tandoori chicken is cooked in a wood-fired clay “oven” called a tandoor.

They reach insane temperatures approaching 480°C or 900°F.

It is that insane dry heat that gives a good tandoori chicken its distinct flavour and characteristics.

You can get part of the way with boneless chicken but using a grill or broiler. I use this approach in my murgh makhani recipe.

But that really does not cut it with larger pieces of bone-in chicken.

But many of you have some kit that can get closer than your oven… A BBQ!

Portrait image of kachumber salad in a jar with out of focus tandoori chicken behind it

Cooking Tandoori Recipes On The Barbecue.

The secret is to get that BBQ as hot as you can.

It is the same idea behind the way that I cook pizza on the BBQ.

I get the temperature of my BBQ up towards 350-400°C or 650-750°F.

To do this you need to keep all of the BBQ vents open at all times. This sucks through lots of air.

You do however need to create two cooking zones, if you put your chicken over the direct coals you will get charcoal.

This is exactly the same process that I use to cook my tandoori fish.

You can also cook chicken tikka and naan bread in this fierce heat.

Portrait close up image of a BBQ tandoori chicken drumstick with surrounded by out of focus chicken

Serving Suggestions and Leftovers.

This recipe is a rare offering from me that serves 4 people rather than two.

Although it is a challenge not to eat the whole chicken as it tastes so damn good.

I tend to try and save the boneless breast pieces and use them in my chicken tikka masala recipe on day 2.

They also make a killer sandwich!

When it comes to side dishes I tend to stick with a kachumber salad and possibly a mint raita.

BBQ Tandoori Chicken Recipe

BBQ Tandoori Chicken Recipe

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Marinade Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 25 minutes

This recipe takes a whole chicken and breaks it down to form the most incredibly glorious meal, nothing short of a Tandoor oven cooks tandoori chicken quite like a BBQ!


  • 1.2kg (2.5 lb) Whole Chicken
  • Pinch of Chat Masala

For the Marinade:

  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) Plain Yoghurt
  • 1 Tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 30 g (1 oz) Ginger
  • 1 Tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cumin


  1. Break down the chicken into drumsticks, thighs, wings, breasts and chicken tenders.
  2. Cut the chicken breasts into 3 pieces.
  3. Peel the garlic and ginger and place in a blender with the salt.
  4. Blend to a smooth paste and then transfer to a large bowl.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients for the marinade and mix well.
  6. Throw in the chicken and massage the mix marinade into the meat.
  7. Cover the bowl with film and then place in the fridge for at least 4 hours, you can leave it for up to 24.
  8. Get your BBQ as hot as you can, making sure you have both a direct and indirect heat zone.
  9. Place the chicken thighs and drumsticks in the indirect heat zone and cook for 10 minutes.
  10. After 10 minutes add the wings and cook for 20 minutes.
  11. Finally, add the chicken breast pieces and the chicken tenders and cook for 25 minutes.
  12. Check that the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 74°C or 165°F.
  13. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes and sprinkle with a pinch of chat masala before serving.


Tandoori chicken usually gets its distinct red colour from either flavourless colouring. I do not do add colouring to my recipes unless it adds flavour!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 700 Total Fat: 40g Saturated Fat: 11g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 25g Cholesterol: 284mg Sodium: 875mg Carbohydrates: 7g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 2g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 74g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

26 thoughts on this Recipe:

  1. I love tandoori and yours sounds amazing! Interesting about the red colour. I didn’t know that!

  2. I bet the flavor on this is incredible! I love bbq tandoori together– sooo good! I bet it would be a hit at a party.

  3. These spices sounds perfect for this dish! Full of flavor! And I love the use of yogurt! I’d love to try this instead of my usual chicken recipe I make! 🙂

  4. Hello! Red Velvet Cake anyone? I agree with you about added color. Color does influece taste perception … but still. Anyway, with chicken, I think the red is misplaced. Red is not a good color for chicken. Yours looks firely and delicious.

    • Cheers Jeff, I can honestly say I have never tried red velvet cake but in all fairness I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and rarely bake at home.

  5. I can’t believe how irresistable you can make chicken look! This sounds and looks perfect. I love the Indian flavors … mmmmmm!

  6. We haven’t used the grill much this summer but that’s definitely something I’m fixing with this recipe before it gets too cold to!

    • Cheers Paige… I love that salad, I can eat it by the bucket load, that some mint yoghurt and some poppadoms and I am set for an afternoon 😉

    • Thanks Jagruti… I have to confess to not being a lover of Paneer, I find it has very little flavour and whilst that allows it to convey the flavours in a sauce or marinade I find it all a little meh.


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